Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Convergence of Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting

In January of this year I predicted (A lot of my posts start with this sentence):
Web Analytics will be about taking actions – More and more marketers would like to take actions and not just report the findings. It just won’t be about what happened, it will be about taking action to drive sales, user satisfaction, lead generation etc. Incentives and bonuses will be tied to the online KPIs. Optimization and Behavioral Targeting will become a common term used by marketers.

Behavioral Targeting – … Behavioral Targeting won’t exist in isolation. Web Analytics tool will have to support behavioral targeting and visa versa. Also, on-site behavioral targeting will become very common.

So why did I make these predictions?

Well first look at what Behavioral Targeting is and how it relates to web analytics.

Behavioral Targeting is targeting visitors based on their past behavior (on site). Past behavior could range from the very first action a visitor took on the site (if they still have that same cookie) to the most recent action that a user took (in the latest session). (More detailed information is available at Behavioral Targeting)

All these actions are tracked via web analytics data. Web analytics provides the intelligence for behavioral targeting and web analytics is what measures behavioral targeting success. Behavioral Targeting cannot exist in isolation.

Web Analytics provides insight into visitors’ behavior. But insights are only as good as the actions that come out of them. Behavioral Targeting is one of the (better) ways to make those insights actionable. Marketer segment visitors based on the insights provides by a web analytics data and on the business goals. These segments of visitors can then be to target customer with the right Ad/Message/Content/Product (Behavioral Targeting).

I guess Omniture thinks the way I do. The reason I say this is because they filed for a Behavioral Targeting patent and were granted the patent recently. According to a press release from omniture
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded the company a new United States Patent (U.S. Patent Number 7,260,551). The patent is generally directed to performance optimization, and relates to online real-time behavioral targeting and testing systems, such as content targeting on Web sites, targeted ad-serving to maximize cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) revenue yields, the maximization of yields from search engine marketing and improved personalization search algorithms.

So how will Omniture use this patent? I am sure they have already thought about it, but here are few of my speculations.

  1. They can develop their own Behavioral Targeting Capabilities using Touch Clarity, not just on site but offsite as well.

  2. License it to partners who develop behavioral targeting tools or networks that tie in with Omniture’s Web Analytics tool.

  3. Get in behavioral Targeting Ad network game, just like digiMine did when they transformed into Revenue Science. I am not suggesting that Omniture should leave the Web Analytics field as they have a pretty good foothold in this field.

They can also make some extra cash by filing lawsuits against other companies that are infringing on their patent.

So what is next for Omniture? Acquisition of an ad serving company?

Thoughts? Comments?


  1. Jacques Warren5:46 PM

    Hi Anil,

    Where do you place the acquisition of Offermatica in all that?

  2. I do love the idea of sitting on it and suing everyone under the sun like NTP has done and is doing to RIM, Sprint, At&T, etc.

    It seems that Omniture has made a concerted effort to create strategic partnerships with tools that integrate into their platform. So, I think I'm gonna go with #2.

    Btw, I just wrote about this strategy given their partnership with Salesforce.


I would like to hear your comments and questions.